Study objectives: To describe a 7-year follow-up (1992 to 2000) of patients who were treated by home nasal positive-pressure ventilation (NPPV) for chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure.
Design: Prospective descriptive study.
Setting: Two university hospitals and a pulmonary rehabilitation center.
Patients: Two hundred eleven patients with obstructive pulmonary disorders (58 patients) or restrictive pulmonary disorders (post-tuberculosis, 23 patients; neuromuscular diseases [NM], 28 patients; post-poliomyelitis syndrome, 12 patients; kyphoscoliosis [KYPH], 19 patients; obesity-hypoventilation syndrome [OHS], 71 patients) who were treated by long-term NPPV.
Intervention: Annual, elective, standardized medical evaluations.
Measurements: Pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gas levels, health status, compliance, survival and probability of pursuing NPPV, and hospitalization rates.
Results: Patients with OHS, NM, and KYPH had the highest probability of pursuing NPPV, while patients with COPD had the lowest values. Overall, the compliance rate was high (noncompliance rate, 15%). As of 1994, COPD and OHS became the most frequent indications for NPPV, increasing regularly, while other indications remained stable. The use of pressure-cycled ventilators progressively replaced that of volume-cycled ventilators in most indications. Hospitalization rates decreased in all groups after initiating NPPV, when compared with the year before NPPV, for up to 2 years in COPD patients, and 5 years in non-COPD patients.
Conclusion: Major changes in patient selection for NPPV occurred during the study period with a marked increase in COPD and OHS. The shift toward less expensive pressure-cycled ventilators and the decrease in hospitalizations after initiating NPPV have had positive impacts on the cost-effectiveness of NPPV in patients with chronic respiratory failure.